Conscious Parenting- Dealing with Defiant Children

Having recently experienced a student who was oppositionally defiant in one of my classes, I was reminded of the mental health professional description of the behaviors of someone with that type of behavioral issue.
Below is the checklist of a young teen whose disorder should be tracked according to intensity and repetition. In my case, the student exhibited all but one of the descriptors seen below.  Not knowing the background of this student because he was relatively new to my class, and didn’t have an IEP there was no way I could tell if there was some type of trauma in his life that triggered the actions. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and reacted according to how I’ve been trained. Certainly, aggressive behavior such as he exhibited could be excused due to trauma. Otherwise, there are ways to deal with it. Here is the list which seems to characterize an ODD child/teen.

  • Oftenloses temper
  • Argues with adults and authority figures
  • Refuses to comply with adult requests
  • Blames others for his mistakes
  • Deliberately annoys people
  • Is easily annoyed by others
  • Is angry/resentful and spiteful/vindictive.

Sound like someone you may know?
Please see information below as I found it most helpful and I think you will too.
If a person exhibits four or more of these behaviors for six months or longer, he/she would likely be diagnosed with ODD, unless there was an alternative explanation.  For example, if the individual has experienced. trauma such as the death or ill health of a caretaker, or if there’s another disorder or condition at play. The most important factor to consider is frequency and intensity. All kids exhibit some of these behaviors at some time, but not to the extent of an ODD child. ODD may develop at any time, over time, and may be secondary to another diagnosis. In other words, it might co-exist with ADHD or a mood disorder.

With oppositional and defiant children, there are very different levels of misbehavior. You might have a youngster who’s having temper tantrums, or an older adolescent who’s exhibited ODD behavior for years and who feels justified in being verbally or physically abusive, or punching holes in the kitchen wall.

A common trait of kids with Oppositional Defiant Disorder is that they often see themselves as victims and feel justified in acting out. And sadly, they see so many examples of people they may revere such as athletes, actors, and politicians. in our culture who act out and set truly bad examples. Children then may feel even more justified in what they’re doing.

Parents and certainly teachers are often intimidated by their ODD child’s behavior because it’s so difficult to deal with. Sometimes it just seems easier to give in than to deal with trying to manage and respond differently. Again, it’s important to remember as a parent that you can change at any time. You might feel defeated because of your own stress levels, feelings of blame or failure, and exhaustion. But here’s the truth: you can learn to respond in such a way as to reduce the acting out behavior.

 Here are four things you can do as a parent to effectively manage your child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder: I found this info on the internet to help me deal with my own problems in class. Just google Oppositional Defiant Disorder and you’ll receive great suggestions.

  • Respond without anger: It’s important to respond to your ODD child without anger—try to be as calm and matter-of-fact as possible. Just acknowledge the behavior, state it as you see it, explain how it will need to change and then remove yourself from all arguments. You really have to pick your battles and decide what’s most important to you—and ultimately to your child.
  • Be clear and consistent: The nature of oppositional defiant behavior is to wear parents down so that they eventually give in. You need to be strong, clear and consistent in your follow-through.
  • Do not take things personally. Do not take your child’s behavior personally. When your ODD child acts out, as hard as it might be, stay as neutral and objective as possible. You need to be clear and concise and not get pulled into a power struggle—it’s really not about you, it’s about your child and what he needs to learn. We as parents sometimes need to be great actors and actresses with our kids. The key is to keep practicing calm, consistent parenting and following through.
  • Don’t be your child’s friend—be his parent: Remember, being a parent is not a personality contest. There are times when he won’t like you—he may even shout, “I hate you,” or call you foul names. But if you keep setting limits with your child and follow through by giving him consequences and holding him accountable, then ultimately you’re doing the best thing for your child.